Chapter II. ευδαιμονια
And I speak of this φιλια, that is my sacrament. What I hope to become, to engage, to embrace; inextricably We. Not only regard, but hold out my hands aware with faithfulness, empathy. Keeper of virtue so that between You and I comes We. That I would speak, write letters out of my head, call out of my shell, and make my bed there under the sky. Doors wide, arms unfolded, ears open. So we shall sit in hours of bright, in hours of dark; in watery eyes, in full, in empty. Carrying our bones. Together, in stasis, in motion; to Pass That, whatever it is. To reject Reciprocity, aim for such καλοσ. This is true Justice, my δικη. And so maybe I can speak of this φιλια, my sacrament. And perhaps I can speak of this φιλια, my ευδαιμονια.
ευδαιμονια—The flourishing life
Chapter V. Another Awakening
When I woke up the morning after the red night. First seeing Hector and Aeneas, I could not speak. Second seeing Poseidon and Diomedes, feeling myself cracking a smile and leaving. When I turned to see her standing at my doorstep–the end. The fissures gave way to the breaking and there I stood in the midst of the crowd with water and salt on my face–my hands holding on to her spine, in her horsehair as if to keep me from falling farther into the dark. With a toss of her mane, she carried me away, prayed, opened her cabin door to a roaring fire, for me, that I might find refuge from the winter. That my blood might begin to thaw. Winter–it will not steal your substance, she said. And for what are beds made but to give friends a place to lay down their heads? A smile as strong as her lion heart. And you are not alone in this, she said. As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand…*
*Mumford & Sons, “Timshel”
Chapter IV. (cont.)
I think I saw you in my sleep, darling. I think I saw you in my dreams,* Green Girl. You were with Rosary and I felt touch. A return to our gentler years. Green Girl, I was looking into your eyes for the first time since the season passed. Since our apocalypse. Since the time when love was not enough.** When dimly. When trumpets. When convictions, followed by the escalation of rage: flashes of red, the screaming, the running out the door. The change leftover from childhood now utterly spent, the fabric of the walls ripped to shreds with those screams. Eyes watering, might I go blind. Might I be blind. Your pills and your booze a tornado in my head. Our conversation, a tsunami. First comrades in holy war, now rivals in bitter jihad. I screamed Medic! My friend is dying is she dead or am I dead. Those walls were painted in green blood. Oppression over a bag of pistachios snapped my grace that cried to keep giving us time. When they pulled me out–when it was over, I kept wondering how many voices did you have. Which of them were speaking to me in our first year. Which of them were speaking to me on your bunk bed wet with tears. Which of them were speaking to me in finality on that red night. My dear comrade, we were fallen. Pink paint splattered on our faces, but our wings so sore and torn. Two girls coughing to keep our heads above the crowd, trying to offer my arm for your hands. How desperately could I try to sling your nightmares on my back. Riptide, I watched the way your eyes dissociated. Then the inevitable attack, grab, pulling under of the attempted rescuer. But I am born, and my own fear of drowning gasped for me to untangle. When they let the line down, I grabbed it, best as cold hands could, choking. Did not look back, feared I would turn into my own pillar, rigor. Yet the memories are before me, like the flowers you gave me after he disappeared. My thought that you were in my life, for life, now upside down and withering. Yet wondering is still before me, where did I leave you, could you keep your head above water. So when I say I saw you in my sleep, believe it, darling. And when I say you were in my dreams, believe it, Green Girl.
*La Dispute, “Such Small Hands”
Chapter IV. (cont.)
Declaration: My friends are gone, my friends have left me. For better things and for better families. I’m filled with hate and scared of grace. You’ll never take what I create…My friends are dead.* Or am I dead. When I looked up, the roof over my head was no longer gold. Its structure as a stronghold, a memory. I looked up and could see the holes, neglected, the weathered damage caving to the snow and rain. My house leaking over my head and so are my friends dead or am I dead. This coffin punched with holes as I lay dying. Dissociated from my reflection in the mirror. Dissociated without my associations. Where are my associations. I stare in the mirror with no associations and so dissociate. So are my friends dead or am I dead. When would I wake up and know who was dead.
The History of an Engagement with φιλια
Chapter I. Growing Pains
In the beginning, she, then we. German Tiger Girl, my partner in crime, for life. You and I, characteristically feline. Little lions on the mouse hunt, running over fields, chasing away the cafeteria days. Looking for that summer sun. We built our forts in swimming pools, in bedrooms, dream homes drawn on paper. You and I, partners in crime. Our young gold laughter in the sky. How you laughed when I blew flour in my own face. Would this be mονιμωσ, would this be rare. Permanent. When we picked up the phone, how many times we would say goodbye before finally saying goodbye. But then the day I moved, the day I cried, maybe a little part of me died. Growing pains, apart. I grew and bruised my knees over a gym floor and found Vivaldi. You grew and danced with rifles and found your first kiss. I know I seemed to forget the phone; ringing, dialed, only once in a while. But then a call out of the blue. My whiskers twitched and my voice seemed to fail. I could not be there. But still, I tried, I tried for summer, but I was removed. Did I bury our treasure? The world spun so fast for me. Those growing pains. My weakness, believing I grew the stronger. The ringing, the dialed, only once in a while. I drove away to the south to grow even stronger. A year and a half of this before I woke up and remembered to call you. Your voice was golden. My partner in crime, for life. Our final growing pains weaving us back together again. You still remember my birthdays with cupcakes, and you forgive my lack of virtue in my own memory. We ran into the summer again, jumping in the pool, laughing games in the middle of the night. And when I left again, I tried to promise us I would write the letters I’d never sent. I am poor with contact, yet bonded in virtue, and we are alike, we are partners in crime. For life. I am here and you are there and if I can just get this postcard with your name on it and send. May that be enough to extend. May our flame be kept, sculptured, mονιμωσ. So is this rare. Permanent. Partner in crime, for life, my German Tiger Girl.